Saturday 31 July 2010

Real Traitors 7" EMI Custom 13234, 1982

At various times the Real Traitors have been a hit in San Francisco (see below) and Hell, Norway, but remain practically unheard everywhere else, including their hometown of Sydney. The Kuge's "primitive shit music" nomenclature probably tells you all you need to know - the terms are even arranged in descending order of importance.

There's been much discussion between your humble correspondents about the influences at work here, but pinning them down feels like jamming a series of square pegs into frustratingly round holes. Can anyone name who these guys were channelling? Not us. One is tempted to dive down the rabbit hole of international DIY to contextualise this racket, but on the balance of probability, and given the year, our subjects were more likely spurred into action by the weirdness on the Bullshit Detector comps. Certainly the first (more, uh, "structured") side would not be out of place among the bedroom anarcho gurglings collected on those records. Early, dirgy Amebix with chromosome damage? Six Minute War (c. Slightly Longer Songs) trapped in a mine shaft? Sure. But then again, not really. The turd is polished with discernable influence from local heroes SPK - some white noise from Slogun here, a dive-bomb from Germanik there - but the strident, jackboot-wearing crunch of early industrial is conspicuously absent.

Things go off the deep end on the second side. You're on your own there.

Blackmailing You is the recommended starting point for those wishing to dip their toe in the cesspool - the band's murky, rhythmless riffing is at its most effective here. Still, as Jello rightly noted, this is not for the squeamish. For those with delicate musical palates, consider the first song title in relation to your bandwidth before downloading.

It's A Waste

Blackmailing You

Death Meaning

I Just Don't Know Where I'm Leading To

Jello Biafra reviews the Real Traitors EP, from Maximum Rock 'n' Roll #10, December 1983. We think the supplied address, the multi-storey terrace on the corner of Fitzroy St, was a squat back then.

Addendum 7 June 2011
As pointed out in the comments the Real Traitors were another fruitful Australia/New Zealand cultural merge. Ages ago Graham Osborne sent us the pertinent info, here it is:
The line-up was Max Katterns, Grant Freeman and Graham Osborne.

Since you asked, I think we were probably channelling LSD, but we had listened to everything around at that time and stretching back to the Velvets, Stooges, Eno, Can, Cale. We hardly ever recorded without acid, it was like a house rule, and we were evicted from one studio in Sydney when things got too weird for the engineer. We tried to play out just once, at the Kardomah Cafe in Kings Cross, I think it was, but the manager threw us out as we were setting up, saying "we don't like your attitude," which came as a complete shock because we hadn't even started playing. But we were tripping then as well and maybe he noticed we'd grabbed a carton of beer from behind the bar to try to ease the visions of blood dripping down his anxious face.

Two of us recorded some stuff in NY, then went to England and did some more over there. We had an album deal with Dan Treacy's (Television Personalities) label Dreamworld, which was distributed by Rough Trade, then just before it was due for release Dreamworld declared bankruptcy.
Labels - Graham's facebook is in the comments - let's get that unreleased LP out there.


Anonymous said...

see here!/graham.osborne1

Anonymous said...

Up there with Slugfuckers,Urinals,Devo & SPK and others who forged their own path...


Anonymous said...

Actually, these guys originated from Little ol' Kelston, Auckland, New Zealand. Brother Grant was one of them.